How Perlite Is Used for Hydroponic Gardens
Vegetables Grow Best with Perlite
During the wintertime, the most avid horticulturists and home gardeners turn to greenhouses to grow their plants and crops. There are a couple of ways they can ensure their plants have the best chance of growing. One method is hydroponics: a method of growing without soil by using water fortified by mineral nutrient solutions. Perlite is a popular choice for hydroponic gardens.
What Is Horticultural Perlite?
To see why perlite is important for hydroponic gardens, it’s helpful to take a look at the benefits of horticultural perlite. This mineral is a lightweight, non-organic, soil substrate that provides a number of important benefits, including:
- Inorganic: Perlite is stable and doesn’t decompose or break down. It also doesn’t transfer disease.
- Neutral pH: Perlite’s pH range is 6.5 to 7.5—the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients.
- Light Weight: Perlite is lighter than grit or sharp sand, pumice, or other aggregates—which can also be used to improve drainage in a garden bed. It is easier to handle products for manufacturers and makes it easier for home gardeners to work with.
- Rich in Nutrients: Perlite supplies iron, sodium, calcium, and other trace elements.
The Benefits of Perlite for Hydroponic Gardens
Horticultural perlite is particularly beneficial for hydroponic gardens. In hydroponic systems, roots are grown in troughs of perlite which are supplied with a fertilizer/nutrient solution. This allows the right amount of water and oxygen to get to the roots. According to research, plants grown hydroponically with perlite produce a heavier crop for the space, providing a better quality product. In addition to the benefit of increasing crop, perlite does not attract pests or diseases, and it can easily be replaced. Its pH provides the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients that can be added to the water mixture.
Common plants grown hydroponically with perlite include:
- Tomatoes are less prone to splitting when grown hydroponically with perlite than if they were grown in soil.
- Lettuce grown hydroponically with perlite often results in larger and better-shaped heads and nearly always in a lower incidence of tipburn.
- Strawberries require a large amount of oxygen in the root zone, and perlite’s high porosity helps maintain that ideal environment.
For Commercial Growers, Landscapers, and Home Gardeners
Expanded perlite is widely used for horticultural and agricultural endeavors Perlite is widely used in horticultural applications because of its lightweight water~holding capacity, neutral pH, and pathogen-free nature. Perlite is found in the engineered lightweight soils of roof gardens and planters as well as commercial and bagged potting soils. Perlite is used a soilless grow media for hydroponics, seed starting and plant rooting. Perlite also makes an excellent conditioner for native garden, turf, and landscape soils, enhancing both the water-holding capacity and anti-compaction properties
Horticultural perlite is a lightweight, non-organic, soil substrate that provides a number of important benefits to commercial growers, landscapers, and home gardeners.
Perlite and Hydroponic Gardens
According to research, growing plants hydroponically with perlite produces a heavier crop for the space used and a better quality product. Tomatoes, for instance, are less prone to splitting when grown hydroponically than if they are grown in soil.
In hydroponic systems, roots are grown in troughs of perlite which are supplied with a fertilizer/nutrient solution. This allows the right amount of water and oxygen to get to the roots.
And unlike soil, this growing medium does not attract pests or diseases, and it can easily be replaced.
Perlite’s Horticultural Benefits
Some of the benefits of perlite use in horticulture are:
Breaks up Compacted Soil
Perlite can be used to break up compacted soil for better water drainage.
The high displacement and lightweight volume capacity of expanded perlite provide room for air and water, preventing over-watering and allowing proper drainage.
Because it is inorganic, perlite is stable and doesn’t decompose or break down.
Perlite’s pH range is 6.5 to 7.5—the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients.
Perlite is lighter than grit or sharp sand, pumice, or other aggregates—which can also be used to improve drainage in a garden bed. Adding Perlite to your growing media makes for lighter, easier to handle products for manufacturers, and makes it easier for home gardeners to work with.
Perlite is one of nature’s most versatile and efficient minerals. It is formed by molten (magmatic) rock, also known as volcanic glass. It acts as a lightweight, non-organic, soil conditioner for commercial growers, landscapers, and home gardeners alike, providing numerous benefits. See for yourself how perlite is one of the most sustainable soil substrates on the commercial market.
Common Horticultural Perlite Uses
There are a variety of applications, including:
- Potting Soils
- Stadium turf
- Golf course turf
- Hydroponic crops (tomatoes, bell peppers, chillies, and more)
- Trees and shrubs
- Bulb and tuber storage
- Garden beds